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Indian Railways to extend North-East connectivity via Bangladesh and Nepal

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NEW DELHI : The Indian Railways will look to connect the North East with rest of the country through two neighbouring countries – Bangladesh and Nepal – thereby reducing travel time to the region, according to government sources.

The Railway Board has sanctioned Final Location Survey for extending new railway lines that will connect the northeastern states via Bangladesh and Nepal, skipping the Siliguri corridor. Fourteen new rail connecting routes and alternate routes have been sanctioned. On the Bangladesh route, around 500km of new railway lines have been ordered and gauge conversion will be performed for 367km. On the Nepal route, over 200 km of new lines will be laid; while in the North East there will be another 212 km of lines being laid.

About 250 km of new lines will be laid along West Bengal – Bangladesh – Meghalaya route (Balurghat – Hili – Gaibandha – Mahendraganj – Tura – Mendipathar segment). In two sections of the West Bengal – Bangladesh route, 80 km and 60 km of new railway lines will come up, respectively.

In another segment connecting West Bengal to Assam via Bamanhat in Bangladesh, 38 km of new railway line will be laid; while for Balurghat – Hili – Parbatipur – Kaunia – Lalmanirhat – Mogalhat – Gitaldaha section (an existing India – Bangladesh trade route) 18 kms of new lines will be laid.

Gauge conversion: Two West Bengal – Bangladesh – Tripura routes (Gede – Darsana – Akhaura – Agartala and Petrapole – Benapole – Nabharon – Jessore – Rupdia – Padmabila – Lohagara – Kashiani – Shibchar – Mawa – Nimtala – Gendaria – Dhaka – Tongi – Bhairab Bazar – Akhaura – Agartala ) will require 100 km and 120 km of gauge conversions respectively. Nepal side: 190km of new lines between Biratnagar – New Mal; and another 12.5 km of new lines in Galgalia – Bhadrapur – Kajali Bazar section.

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